Sermon for October 24,2021

Mankind’s injustice puts God at war with us!

Isaiah 59:10-21

Isaiah 59:9–21 (NIV): 9 So justice is far from us,

         and righteousness does not reach us.

         We look for light, but all is darkness;

         for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.

      10 Like the blind we grope along the wall,

         feeling our way like people without eyes.

         At midday we stumble as if it were twilight;

         among the strong, we are like the dead.

      11 We all growl like bears;

         we moan mournfully like doves.

         We look for justice, but find none;

         for deliverance, but it is far away.

      12 For our offenses are many in your sight,

         and our sins testify against us.

         Our offenses are ever with us,

         and we acknowledge our iniquities:

      13 rebellion and treachery against the LORD,

         turning our backs on our God,

         inciting revolt and oppression,

         uttering lies our hearts have conceived.

      14 So justice is driven back,

         and righteousness stands at a distance;

         truth has stumbled in the streets,

         honesty cannot enter.

      15 Truth is nowhere to be found,

         and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.

         The LORD looked and was displeased

         that there was no justice.

      16 He saw that there was no one,

         he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;

         so his own arm achieved salvation for him,

         and his own righteousness sustained him.

      17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,

         and the helmet of salvation on his head;

         he put on the garments of vengeance

         and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

      18 According to what they have done,

         so will he repay

         wrath to his enemies

         and retribution to his foes;

         he will repay the islands their due.

      19 From the west, people will fear the name of the LORD,

         and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.

         For he will come like a pent-up flood

         that the breath of the LORD drives along.

      20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,

         to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”

           declares the LORD. *(Italics and boldface mine)

21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the LORD.

Hmmm, seems like the Apostle Paul may have borrowed this idea.  I wonder if anyone dinged Paul for this plagiarism?

Ephesians 6:10–18 (NIV): 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. * 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Boldface and underline mine)

If we desire justice, we must fight for justice.  We can growl like bears or moan woefully like a dove.  Are we for God’s ways or against them?

Now Isaiah 59, just like 58, is speaking about the time of the reconstruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.  In 733 BCE, Israel began to be attack by Assyria.  In 721 BCE, Israel’s capital in Samaria was finally conquered and so the whole Northern Kingdom with it.  King Sennacherib attacked the Jerusalem Temple in 701 BCE but failed.  This led to the two Kings of Judah during this Assyrian attack, Ahaz and Hezekiah, towards the reestablishment of religious piety and the destruction of pagan shrines.  Now, a prophet that lived during this time records this:

Hosea 6 (NLT): 1 “Come, let us return to the LORD.

    He has torn us to pieces;

      now he will heal us.

    He has injured us;

      now he will bandage our wounds.

    2 In just a short time he will restore us,

      so that we may live in his presence.

    3 Oh, that we might know the LORD!

      Let us press on to know him.

    He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn

      or the coming of rains in early spring.”

    4 “O Israel and Judah,

      what should I do with you?” asks the LORD.

    “For your love vanishes like the morning mist

      and disappears like dew in the sunlight.

    5 I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces—

      to slaughter you with my words,

      with judgments as inescapable as light.

    6 I want you to show love,

      not offer sacrifices.

    I want you to know me

      more than I want burnt offerings.

    7 But like Adam, you broke my covenant

      and betrayed my trust.

    8 “Gilead is a city of sinners,

      tracked with footprints of blood.

    9 Priests form bands of robbers,

      waiting in ambush for their victims.

    They murder travelers along the road to Shechem

      and practice every kind of sin.

    10 Yes, I have seen something horrible in Ephraim and Israel:

      My people are defiled by prostituting themselves with other gods!

    11 “O Judah, a harvest of punishment is also waiting for you,

      though I wanted to restore the fortunes of my people. (Italics and boldface mine)

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